Building a bear proof coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by donnap1967, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. donnap1967

    donnap1967 Songster

    Mar 15, 2008
    Northern NJ
    I have 7 week old chickens still living in their brooder, which is a cardboard box for now. They are our first chickens and they are growing so fast. I have been trying to get my DH to build me a coop for a couple weeks now and if I finally coax him into it I will need to know how to proceed.

    We have raccoons, hawks, owls and yes, black bear in our neighborhood. The bears are a big concern and of course the other smaller predators are as well. I plan to put the coop in our backyard which is fenced all the way around with 6 foot high wood fencing. We have some room on the side of the house where we could build it out of the way and out of site so it doesn't "bother" my husband who is not a chicken lover.

    I have never had a bear in my backyard and I hope the fencing is a big deterrent. People we know in the neighborhood had a rabbit hutch sorta coop they were keeping chickens in and the bear got them [​IMG]

    Does anyone here contend with bears and how do you "bear-proof" your coop and run?

    Edited to add I would be concerned with run advice too!
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
  2. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Well---that paper box definatley wont hold up! [​IMG]

    Electricify the run with a livestock electric fence. That is the only thing I would feel comfortable with for bear. Make sure you cover the top for hawks. and the only thing that would make me feel safe for the coons would be to make a coop where you can securely shut them in at night.

    I have NO experience with this so someone else will come along with better advice Im sure.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
  3. wefanjr

    wefanjr In the Brooder

    Jul 13, 2007
    I think land mines strategicly placed around coup will be most effective. The biggest critter I have to worry about is my dog.
  4. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    I'll second the electric fence, but the most important thing you can do is remove all food sources (bird seed, dog food, garbage) bears will take the quickest easiest food they can get. So if you or your neighbors are leaving seed or garbage out they will start comming around. Then when they have gotten used to your area as a good source for finding easy food and the neighbors have gotten tired of picking up garbage and finaly remove that source then they start going for the bird buffet.
  5. mmajw

    mmajw Songster

    Jan 31, 2008
    Make sure your run has a cover and that you either make a door (that goes to the run) that you can close up at night or that is like a doggy door style that hopefully will deter anything coming in. I do like the electric fence idea as well. As far as your run you may want to use a post hole digger so that nothing moves the post and put your wire down under ground so nothing can dig it up or get threw it.

    We have Raccoons, Coyote and Porcupine and thank goodness have not had a problem yet.

    Hope this helps.. [​IMG]
  6. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground

    It is important you bait the electric fence. Once the bear gets a taste of 8500 volts it won't go near the fence again, but if you don't bait it and it just touches their thick coat they won't even blink an eyelash (if bears have eyelashes [​IMG]). What you can do is get some cans of sardines, peel them open and hang them on the fence. The voltage will run through the can, too. This is learned by the experience of thousands of beekeepers who have done the same to protect their hives.
  7. Stumpy

    Stumpy Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    I am just curious -- did you really mean 8,500 volts through an electric fence?
  8. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground

    Yep, that's right. The charger we bought is more powerful than this one from Kencove, but it's basically the same thing. I think it's the amps that do you in, combined with the volts, but I'm no electrician. We tested the volts with a volt meter because we wanted to make sure it was strong enough to deal with our ursine friend!
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
  9. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    it also helps to run 3 or more wires around the area. I hear that using bob wire will help get through the fur coat to touch the skin.
  10. Tutter

    Tutter Songster

    Apr 12, 2008
    N. California
    We have bears, and I believe that, aside from a sturdy coop and run, the best deterrents are dogs; the more the merrier.

    We still have them go through the yard, now and then, but not as much as people without dogs.

    Also, so far we have the coop inside the fenced run for the chickens, not outside with a door into a run. We use hardware cloth over other hard wire. Chain link would be great, but other wire will work, too, just not chicken wire. Something hard and not able to be easily bent.

    Also, the closer to the house you keep the coop, the better.

    Be sure you aren't attracting them by leaving trash cans close to the coop, or any food out. That would be chicken food, dog food/cat food, "people food" or produce for the animals or on trees, such as apples, vegetable scraps etc.

    Mind you, I know that a determined bear will go where it likes, but so far only rogue bears, and some bears with cubs, question our perimeters/the dogs. We've been here for 20 years.

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